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Top Procurement Methods: Here’s how the Government of Canada buys goods and services

By Cindy O’Driscoll


Did you know that the Government of Canada spent approximately $23B annually on goods, services, construction and maintenance projects from 2017 to 2020, with contract values ranging from hundreds to billions of dollars, from businesses of all sizes and types, in all regions of Canada? The Government of Canada also buys more goods and services from micro, small, and medium enterprises than it does from large companies.

Your business could be one of them.


Find bid opportunities

Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is the official source businesses should use to find Government of Canada tenders. The site is easy to navigate and allows suppliers to search for new opportunities and see past contract awards.

Register your business

To respond to tender opportunities, you must first register in the Supplier Registration Information (SRI) system at buyandsell.gc.ca and obtain a Procurement Business Number. This number is required for a business to be paid by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), the main buyer for federal departments and agencies.


Procurement methods

For requirements over $25,000, procurement of goods and services is done through the solicitation of bids and quotes from potential suppliers, using a variety of methods. These are the four most commonly used:


An Invitation to Tender (ITT) – used for straightforward needs such as off-the-shelf goods; contract awarded to the lowest bidder.


A Request for Proposal (RFP) – used for complex requirements, containing both financial and technical criteria, where the selection of a supplier cannot be made solely on the basis of the lowest-priced bid.

A Request for Standing Offer (RFSO) – used to pre-qualify suppliers to provide goods and services when required, at pre-negotiated and firm prices.

A Request for Supply Arrangement (RFSA) – used to pre-qualify suppliers to provide goods and services when required, at prices that are not fixed.

For requirements below $25,000, contracting officers may request quotes from suppliers directly, using source lists and various databases to identify and select a supplier on either a competitive or non-competitive basis.

That’s why it’s important to stay in touch with government buyers and to promote your goods and services.


To learn more, contact the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) – Atlantic Region, the main federal government supplier resource in Atlantic Canada. Call 902-426-5677 or email osme-bpme-atl@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca. You can also contact the national InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148.

Cindy O’Driscoll


Cindy O’Driscoll is Chief of Stakeholder Engagement with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in the Atlantic Region. As a key member of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) team in Halifax, Cindy advises and educates Atlantic Canadian companies and industry associations about the federal procurement process and is committed to helping businesses succeed. Cindy holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University, an MSc in Coastal Zone Management from Bournemouth University, U.K. and an MA and BA (Hons) in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. You can reach Cindy at cindy.odriscoll@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca.


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